South Korea Hospital Fire - 37+ People Killed.

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A hospital fire in Miryang, South Korea has killed 37 people and injured dozens of others when it raged through the building, which was also used as an assisted living facility.

The original death toll was released at 41 by the office of the president, but it was revised to 37.  Among those killed in the fire were a doctor, nurse, and nursing assistant.

Patients needed to walk through flames and smoke to escape the first floor fire.



This fire, coupled with another fire in an 8-story building that left 29 people dead, has many concerned about building and safety regulations in South Korea.  The hospital was 6-stories, and according to code, any building 6-stories or higher should have fire sprinklers.  Yet, this building didn't.  The hospital director Song Byeong-chol said the building wasn't big enough to require fire sprinklers; however, it was 6-stories - the minimum for requiring fire sprinklers.  Song went on to say that the hospital had regular inspections and planned on installing sprinklers the following week.

Officials are looking into the cause of the fire.  At this time, they believe it was caused by a short-circuit in the heating and cooling system.  

According to a patient, a nurse raised the alarm and asked patients to evacuate through emergency exits; however, the emergency exits were clogged with smoke.  Without adequate direction, patients were running around in a panic.

A list was posted outside the hospital with victims who were identified.  The patients killed ranged in age from 35 to 96, with over 20 of the victims over the age of 70.  In total, 125 people were injured.  At the time of the fire, 177 people were occupying the hospital.

Most of the deaths happened on the first and second floor from smoke inhalation.  According to the nurse, the fire was first spotted in the first floor emergency room.